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Happy 33rd Anniversary – Central Park Zoo August 8, 2021

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 Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Central Park Zoo. I am happy to say I have been associated with the zoo for the past 31of those 33 years (that is probably how I know most of you). The zoo began in the 1860s as a menagerie. The zoo or menagerie (as it was called) started inside and around the Arsenal (built in 1848 – which now houses our WCS administrative offices and the NYC Parks Dept). The zoo was modified in 1934 as part of the WPA with the addition of many new buildings arranged in a quadrangle around the sea lion pool. In a contract with NYC, the zoo was completely renovated in the mid-1980s and with much fanfare, reopened on August 8th, 1988, replacing the old-fashioned cages with naturalistic environments. There are many great old photos of the menagerie and zoo found with a simple google search. Come visit us soon and a very Happy Anniversary!

Going to the Dogs August 1, 2021

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 The American Kennel Club was founded in 1884 and is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. I have never had a pure bred dog but I loved them all – regardless of lack of pedigree. Since August is now National Dog month I decided to finally visit the Museum of the Dog and devote today’s photo montage to dogs. I started to think about all of the wonderful dogs that have been in my life and added those long gone cuties (and some very old photos) into today’s montage as well. Here’s to my dogs Lois, Donald (their five puppies), Benny, One-eyed Jack and of course now, Mr. Pepe who have made my life so much happier through the years. They also have a ‘find your match’ game at the Dog Museum where your photo is taken and they come up with a dog that ‘matches’ you. Bottom photo in this montage is what I discovered as my ‘match.’ A Rat Terrier apparently is ‘friendly, inquisitive and lovable.’ Not sure that is a perfect description of me…but I will take it. Give your dog extra kisses this while month please. Woof!

Impressions from a Muggle July 25, 2021

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 Full disclosure…I am a Muggle. In J. K. Rowling’s world a person who is not familiar with the Harry Potter universe is a Muggle and hasn’t read any of the books nor seen any of the movies. Yup – that is surely me. Pre-covid I noticed that the empty Restoration Hardware space across the street from me was going to become a Harry Potter store. I notified my friend Nora (a devoted Harry Potter fan) as soon as I heard this news. Then COVID hit and construction ceased. When it finally opened last month to delighted crowds I knew it was only a matter of time until I too went inside. What’s a muggle to do? Would I understand anything? So dear Nora happily (and very patiently) accompanied me to my first visit and explained everything as we wound our way through the store. Gladly there was no exit test as I surely would have failed. We had a fun, laughed filled time. I enjoyed seeing the crowded store filled with masked up delighted families and friends. Nora ate some Butterbeer ice cream while I watched. The store is housed in a landmark NYC building so sadly they ran into some bureaucratic red tape when they tried to add a dragon to the outside. There are two virtual reality experiences to be had as well although we did not partake in those. if you are planning to go you must go to the store and get a virtual entry ticket. The line starts at around 6:30 in the morning but the store does not open until 10. From my perch I can watch the happy Potter crowds streaming out of the building each day. Have fun if you go (and bring credit cards because there is a lot to buy).

National Zookeeper Appreciation Week – 2021 July 18, 2021

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 The third week in July is when we recognize and celebrate the dedicated zookeepers who keep our zoos and aquariums humming. Zookeeper’s faces may change from year to year but the hard work, resourcefulness and commitment remain the same. I salute you all and especially the staff at my home base, the Central Park Zoo. This past year was especially difficult due to COVID19 but the hard working zookeepers stayed loyal to their purpose. Thank you for allowing me to take your photos while you perform your tasks with good humor. We are open 365 days a year (except during this year’s COVID shutdown), thru rain, snow, summer heat and all holidays. National Zookeeper Week starts today. How about if you go to a zoo this week tell a zookeeper how much they are appreciated? I have been fortunate to stay in touch with many of our Central Park zookeepers who have moved on and it was fun to look at my past Zookeeper Appreciation Week photo montages to see all of those beautiful faces again. If you want to take a photo adventure back in time check out these great years. 20202019 2018
20172016 – 2013

Remembering the Blizzard of 2016 July 11, 2021

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 It has been a hot, humid, very rainy summer in NYC. For me – it is always a bad hair day. Since summer is a time of reruns I thought remembering other weather events might be fun and in this case…cooling. It was on January 24-26 of 2016 when 27.5 inches of snow buried NYCThe NYC blizzard kept most of us close to home (little did we know that four years later we would all be staying close to home due to the pandemic). Here are a few wintry photos from my neighborhood outing at the time. A citywide travel ban was in effect. It was eerily quiet out there except for an occasional snowplow. Our NYC zoos were closed for two days. Hope you all are ‘weathering’ this crazy summer and staying safe.

Red, White and Zoo – 2021 July 4, 2021

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Summer is a time for reruns. Accordingly I share last year’s post since July Fourth actually falls on a Sunday this year. This was a fun montage to create. I didn’t realize how many animals could be included in this red, white and blue themed photo montage. Wishing you a safe, happy holiday and keep those pets inside as most are afraid of the noisy fireworks.

Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest June 27, 2021

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 I am a big fan of public art. Public art is visually and physically accessible to the public; it is installed or staged in public space or the public realm, usually outside. Public art seeks to embody public or universal concepts rather than commercial, partisan or personal concepts or interests. It is not commercial and is usually temporary. Madison Square Park is my neighborhood park and has been exhibiting public art since 2004. I have adored most of the previous exhibits and was usually sad when they left but I knew another project would be coming our way and looked forward to that. Architect Maya Lins Ghost Forest is a grand success. She explains it much better than I can in this four minute video and shows us how she conceived and built this new work. It is on thru November 13. 2021 and I encourage a visit. You can also have a Shake Shack meal in the original Shake Shack in the park. Eataly is directly across the street and the new Harry Potter shop is one block away for you non-Muggles. Another public art project is happening the city in August. Yes, the Cow Parade is coming back to NYC from August 18 to September 30.

Happy Father’s Day 2021 June 20, 2021

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 While most caregivers in the animal kingdom are mothers, there are some fathers who join in the role as caregiver. I salute some of those fathers out there in today’s photo montage. Coincidentally – tomorrow is also National Martini Day. Why not celebrate that special day today? The photo above today’s montage is of my father, sister and me (circa – the beginning of time).

Southwick’s Zoo June 13, 2021

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Last month’s fun trip to New England included the always terrific Southwick’s Zoo. It is a 300-acre, privately owned and operated, zoological park located in Mendon, Massachusetts. It was opened in 1963, and remains family-operated to date. We usually visit around Halloween time but due to last year’s COVID restrictions we missed our annual visit. It was good to be back and also good to see even more improvements to this ever changing facility.

Little Island June 6, 2021

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 I have been a fan of this idea since inception and was not disappointed when I visited the opening this week. There’s a lot of info here about the design, concept and people behind this new NYC space that is close to High Line and Whitney Museum. “In 2013, Barry Diller, in partnership with Hudson River Park Trust  leadership, embarked on the unique opportunity to envision a solution for the repair and reactivation of Pier 54,  damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Diller chose to reimagine an entirely new type of public space for New York, one that would create an immersive experience with nature and art”. It is easy to find and is entered via West 14th Street. From my perspective, NYC is coming back better than ever. Here is a sample of one of the glowing reviews about this new public free space. Please go visit and enjoy.